I am a wack-o. Wack-o is a layman’s term for what a professional therapist might diagnose as a bit up-tight, too anxious, overwhelmed, and sometimes controlling. I don’t try to be. It just happened one day or another after my first child was born, continued with the birth of my second and the third, the next 25 years, and 1,000 life events. Trips to the ER, college tuition, sports, dating, and the death of my parents have just about done me in. I used to be so playful and at ease about everything. What happened? I became a parent. So I am a wack-o.
It is not good to be a wack-o. Being a wack-o is not the way to be a Good Dad, either. Good Dads work hard and are responsible, model good behavior and character, and teach all kinds of things like right and wrong, how to drive, and how to catch a fish. But Good Dads are not all work and no play. Good Dads are relaxed and playful. If you are not there yet, no worries! Let’s help each other lighten up and brighten up.
A playful Dad is a gracious dad. A playful Dad understands that children make mistakes, get into trouble, go down the wrong path, are sometime ornery, anxious, and even uptight. So are we!!
Do you ever wonder where uptight, anxious children come from? They come from anxious, uptight Dads! Our children learn from you and me. Let’s teach them to be relaxed and playful rather than uptight and anxious.
My three boys, Clayton, Aaron, and Jason are teaching me to lighten up and brighten up. My boys are literally the life of my party. They tickle me till I cannot breathe. They pour ice water on me when I am in the shower. They hide my dinner plate when I am not looking. They tell me horrible, rude, offensive stories that would have made their Grandma Lita blush. They don’t let up until I laugh out loud.
Playful Dad goes with the flow. They don’t try to make their children something they are not – from straight A students, to star athletes, to the best in the band. Let them find their way on a pathway marked with playfulness, mercy, and grace. Let your children pick the restaurant, where they want to go on vacation, and what they want to study in college. Because of my boys, I have learned how to ice skate, play hockey, and how to sail. We have gone white water rafting and climbed 14,000 foot mountains in Colorado.
I’m still a wack-o but I am less of a wack-o each day. It is not easy being a Dad. But it is easier, and more fun when we help each other and when we learn to lighten up, brighten up, and be a bit more playful. If I can be a help or blessing to you I am always close by!
Jeff Sippy, a Dad-In-Training, is the father of three young men and the husband of Cindy. He enjoys sailing every chance that he gets. He is the senior pastor at Redeemer Lutheran in Springfield, MO and can be reached for question or comment at firstname.lastname@example.org